Countdown to the MysteryPeople Top 100: Craig Johnson’s Top 21 Mysteries

MysteryPeople will be celebrating its 5th anniversary on November 7th, with a panel discussion, trivia, giveaways, and of course, cake and beverages. We will also be unveiling our list of MysteryPeople’s Top 100 Greatest Crime And Suspense Books. The list will be culled from top twenty lists contributed by critics, writers, and MysteryPeople staff. We’ll be posting each Top 20 list throughout October and November. Our first is actually a Top 21 list by our friend Craig Johnson, author of the perennially popular and fantastically written Longmire series.

He gets us off to a literary start, including many titles that ask the question, what defines a mystery or crime novel. His selections also challenge us to consider the detective novel in its context, evolving over time, with many of its antecedents now found in our classics section. His list playfully encourages us to consider classics as genre fiction, and thus works to destabilize the notion of a literary canon while still respecting literary innovators.


Craig Johnson’s Top 21 Mysteries


  1. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  3. Bleak House by Charles Dickens
  4. Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household
  5. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  6. Sanctuary by William Faulkner
  7. The Third Man by Graham Greene
  8. Fool’s Parade by Davis Grubb
  9. The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad
  10.  A Thief of Time by Tony Hillerman
  11. The Friends of Eddy Coyle by George V. Higgins
  12.  And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
  13. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
  14. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
  15. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
  16. The Godwulf Manuscript by Robert B. Parker
  17. The Mad Man of Bergerac by Georges Simenon
  18. Hombre by Elmore Leonard
  19. The Last Good Kiss by James Crumley
  20. In the Heat of the Night by John Ball
  21. Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers

You can find copies of all of Mr. Johnson’s Longmire series on our shelves and via our website. All the books listed above can be found either on our shelves or via special order. 

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